San Francisco

Lipidio rakes in $20M in Series A to target dermatological and metabolic diseases

San Diego’s Lipidio Pharmaceuticals, a company that is focused on dermatological and metabolic diseases, raked in $20 million from a trio of well-known biopharma executives in a Series A extension.

That trio includes John Maraganore, former founding CEO of Alnylam, Brent Saunders, former chair and CEO of Allergan and Nancy Chang, former founder and CEO of Tanox.

In addition to the investments by Chang, Maraganore and Saunders, new investors include a “selected group of world-renowned dermatologists.”

Lipidio is focused on developing its lead candidate, GDD3898, for various indications, including acne, sebaceous hyperplasia, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), obesity and Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS). It is currently in Phase II for acne, Phase Ib for sebaceous hyperplasia and Phase I for NASH and obesity.

Lipidio was founded in 2018 by David Bullough, Gary Atkinson, Gordon Foulkes and Raksha Shah. The original Series A was in March 2020 for an undisclosed amount, according to Crunchbase

Foulked, CEO of Lipidio, said the funds from the Series A extension will provide “ample runway” to analyze data from three clinical trials, which the company expects to complete before the end of this year to support the launch of its Series B financing in the first quarter of 2023.

The Faces Behind the Funds

Brent Saunders is perhaps best known for helming Allergan ahead of its $63 billion acquisition by AbbVie in 2019.

He was even more front-and-center in 2015, when Pfizer was attempting a $160 billion tax-inversion deal with Allergan to move its headquarters to Dublin, Ireland, where there was a significantly lower tax rate.

Saunders is currently cofounder, CEO and board chairman of Vesper Health, a so-called “blank check company” which indicates on its website its “business purpose is to effect a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization or similar business combination with one or more businesses.”

In a press statement, Saunders indicated he was “proud to participate in this financing with such a stellar group of biopharma leaders” and that GDD3898 has the potential to fill “a major gap in treatment” for acne and sebaceous hyperplasia.

Nancy Chang, Ph.D., is chair of Ansun Biopharma and CEO and president of investment management company Apex Enterprises. Formerly, she was chair and senior managing director of Orbimed Asia and co-founder, chair and CEO of Tanox.

John Maraganore, Ph.D., was the founding CEO and director of Alnylam from 2002 to 2021. A member of the board of directors of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), he chaired the organization from 2017 to 2019.

He is presently a venture partner at ARCH Venture Partners and Atlas Ventures, an executive partner at RTW Investments, a senior advisor at Blackstone Life Sciences and is on the board of the Termeer Foundation. Maraganore is also listed as a director and strategic executive advisor for Lipidio.